- Tuesday, 12 March 2019
- Written by D.G. MARTIN
Why would anybody want to spend months walking from the South Carolina coast up through the Piedmont to present-day Charlotte and then back east to the North Carolina tidewater?
There are two good reasons, one from more than 300 years ago and the other from modern times.
First, in 1700, a newcomer to North America named John Lawson made this long trip to explore and learn about unfamiliar lands. He made the trip on foot because there was no better way to travel through the endless forests of backcountry Carolinas. Setting off from Charleston, he was accompanied by several Englishmen and Indian guides. The notes he took became the basis of a book, “A New Voyage to Carolina,” first published in 1709 and still a classic for its rich descriptions of flora and fauna and the conditions of the native peoples who populated the areas he visited.
The more recent traveler, writer Scott Huler, made the long walk because he wanted to follow in Lawson’s footsteps. He said he looked for a modern book that explained where Lawson went and compared it to what is there today. When he found that it had not been done and that no one had even retraced Lawson’s journey, he thought, “That’s for me!”
Of course, Huler could have made the trip of several hundred miles in a day or two in a car on modern roads. But he wanted to go slow, seeing today’s landscapes and peoples at the pace Lawson traveled.
He shares his travels in a new book, “A Delicious Country: Rediscovering the Carolinas along the Route of John Lawson’s 1700 Expedition.” It was released by UNC Press March 4.
Like most other readers of Lawson, Huler is impressed with Lawson’s descriptions of and attitude about the native populations. Lawson visited Sewee, Santee, Sugeree, Wateree, Catawba, Waxhaw, Occaneechi and Tuscarora Indians. Huler writes, “He (Lawson) stayed in their wigwams, ate their food, trusted their guides. And he emerged with their stories, for some of which he is the only source in the world.”
Lawson, Huler continues, “documented native communities, buildings, agriculture, hunting, dance, trade, and culture through eyes clear, thorough, and respectful. Lawson depicts the natives as fully human—not some subspecies perceived only in comparison to European settlers.”
Lawson’s words were, “They are really better to us than we are to them.”
But Lawson found the native populations to be in a precarious situation. “The Small-Pox and Rum have made such a Destruction amongst them, that, on good grounds, I do believe, there is not the sixth Savage living within two hundred Miles of all our Settlements, as there were fifty Years ago. These poor Creatures have so many Enemies to destroy them, that it’s a wonder one of them is left alive near us.”
Traveling Lawson’s route through the rural Carolinas, Huler found a surprising and discouraging similarity. The rural and small-town landscapes are littered with empty manufacturing plants, corporate farms and forests, empty main streets and deserted houses. Three centuries after Lawson, Huler found that “our world would teeter: a way of life dying in the countryside, implacable new forces once again balancing an entire civilization on a knife edge.”
Setting aside this discouraging report, Huler’s adventures and misadventures on the road entertain and inform. He is the best type of tour guide, one who is well-informed but not at all pompous. His wry, self-deprecating sense of humor helps his serious medicine go down smoothly.
For Lawson, his explorations and the reports about them opened the door to prominence and high positions in the young colony. That success came to a sudden end in 1711 when he was captured and executed by the Indians he had so greatly admired and praised.
- Monday, 04 March 2019
- Written by REP. RICHARD HUDSON
As your congressman, I have the honor of hosting the Congressional Art Competition in our district to recognize the artistic talents of students in our community. I’m excited to announce my office is now accepting entries from local high school students. Since this nationwide competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved — including hundreds from our district alone.
Every year, I am amazed by the incredible talent and creativity of young artists in our district. And one of the best parts about hosting the competition is getting to meet and speak with students one-onone about their artwork at the reception I host to recognize participants and announce the winner.
Admittedly, this year’s competition is bittersweet. I am holding the competition in honor and remembrance of my good friend and legendary NASCAR artist Sam Bass, who passed away last week.
Sam, a Concord, North Carolina, resident, was a pillar in our community and a big part of NASCAR’s history. He was the first officially licensed NASCAR artist and created notable works ranging from car designs to program covers. He designed the iconic “Rainbow Warrior” scheme on Jeff Gordon’s car, and countless others, out of his studio in Concord. In addition, he was awarded the Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 by the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau for his incredible contributions and impact on our community.
He was beloved not just by our community but by NASCAR fans across the world. I got to know Sam through NASCAR. He even hosted the art competition one year at his gallery. I admired him not just for his talent but also for his incredible kindness. We continue to pray for his wife, Denise, and the entire Bass family as they go through this difficult time.
This year, I hope all local high school students will join me in paying tribute to Sam by participating in the art competition.
All entries must be an original in concept, design and execution and may not be larger than 26” x 26” x 4” — including the frame. Interested students should submit entries to my Concord or Fayetteville District offices by 5 p.m., Friday, April 26, with a completed 2019 Congressional Art Competition Student Information and Release Form. A full list of rules and the release form can be found on my website at https://hudson.house.gov/art-competition.
The winner will be selected by an Arts Advisory Committee made up of artists from the district and will be announced at a reception hosted in Concord. The winner and one guest will have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., to participate in the national ceremony with other winners from congressional districts across the country, and winning artwork will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. Second place artwork will be displayed in my Washington, D.C., office, and third place artwork will be displayed in my Concord office.
For more information, visit my website at hudson.house.gov or call my Concord office at 704-786-1612. Our district is home to incredibly gifted students, and I look forward to seeing this year’s entries.